Two weeks ago, the women’s golf team of the University of Dallas arrived at the Tempest Intercollegiate Tournament with obstacles stacked against them but spirits high. The team wanted to start their 2023 fall season strong and proved to do just that. On LeTourneau University turf and without a physical coach to guide them, several Crusaders nevertheless made a record headway into their athletic careers and reached new heights of achievement.
Kimberly Burch, a junior economics and finance major, took first place while Lauren Waltzer, a sophomore biology major, finished in fourth place with honors. Claire Kirby, a graduate business major in the 4+1 Program, arrived in the top ten ranking as well, and Madison ‘Madi’ Meduna, a junior biochemistry major, finished at fourteenth, with Gabriella ‘Gaby’ Ramirez, a sophomore psychology major, close behind. Each player wore their Crusader titles with pride and showed the wider community of Texas universities that UD is a center of both intellectual and physical prowess, ready for a reckoning.
Athletes Meduna and Waltzer discussed their experiences and the rocky yet motivating start to the offseason and the beginning of fall. Due to a delay in staffing, their coach was not available for their first few tournaments outside of long-distance advice. However, while still looking forward to a coach’s guidance and structure, the Crusader golfers learned to work on themselves and trust their own instincts.
Meduna stated, “It was interesting playing a tournament without a coach since they can offer advice while playing, but it also proved that I can play well despite the circumstances.”
“The tournament had a very different vibe without a coach there,” Waltzer said. “I had to rely on my own golf knowledge and problem-solve when I was in trouble on the course or debating on what shot to hit.”
Both agreed, however, that while they did well without one and enjoyed the aid of athletic staff like Chris Conaty, Athletic Recruitment Coordinator, they looked forward to having a steady advisor on hand once again. One aspect that helped support their coach-less endeavors was the strong bonds between teammates and their mutual support. The girls knew each other from the start and had all played together before. Waltzer expanded on this issue.
“The first tournament of the season is usually nerve wracking as the team typically has some first-time players,” Waltzer said. “This year we had five returning girls and no new female players, so there was familiarity between the team, and we knew where we stood going into the tournament.”
Meduna added, “The upperclassmen on the team have been stepping up and trying to help things run smoothly. On the girls’ team, we all five are returners and have established practice routines, and we hold each other accountable.”
Their pre-tournament practices consisted of drills and practice putting that relied on advice from past coach, Katrina Prendergast. By the time Tempest rolled around in the early weeks of September, they were ready to compete with the best that they had.
Both Meduna and Waltzer were positive about their teammates’ accomplishments as well as their own and were excited to push themselves further athletically in future tournaments. Waltzer discussed the relationship between her and teammate Burch, who stood neck and neck for second place going into round two.
“We are both so supportive of each other and so proud of how the other played and performed on day one. Although golf is a competition between players, I would like to think of it as a competition between you and the golf course,” Waltzer explained.
Meduna added regarding the team, “I am so proud of how all of the team played this tournament. We all showed up and played well, and it showed in how we finished. We got second as a team and three of my teammates finished in the top ten.”
This year’s women’s golf team has shown both their resiliency and teamwork as they pushed through impediments to success and found ways to maximize the resources that they had. The various players involved are both each other’s greatest competition and strongest supporters. Meduna described the positive atmosphere and the people who made it possible.
“We continue to push each other with friendly competition,” Meduna acknowledged, “but I know my biggest supporters on the course are my teammates who are out there with me.”